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Insects of Britain and Western Europe (Domino Field Guide) [Paperback]

Michael Chinery
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

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Book Description

28 Jun 2007
Over 2,000 of the most commonly observed and most distinctive insect species of Britain and western Europe, from all orders and most families, are illustrated in this essential pocket guide. The text summarises key identification points, and introductory sections for each group covered give useful guidelines on the characteristics of the orders, families and genera covered. This is the most comprehensive guide available on the insects of this region and will be of great use to all naturalists with an interest in insect life.

Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: A & C Black Publishers Ltd; 2nd Rev edition (28 Jun 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0713672390
  • ISBN-13: 978-0713672398
  • Product Dimensions: 11.7 x 18.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 316,700 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


'An extraordinary and marvellous book - get one today and start really enjoying the wildlife in your garden.'
-- Organic Gardening

'Fabulous pocket- sized guide' -- Kentish Times Newspaper

'Here in a single volumne is the most comprehensive, updated guide to insects available.' -- Bromley Times

'The best general field guide to insects on the market.' -- British Wildlife (August 2007)

'The illustrations alone are a delight...a great starting point for amateur naturalists.' -- Outdoor Photography

'Were I forced to limit my selection of natural history books to a shelf of 10, choice number one would be "Insects"... This modestly sized volume contains such a vast amount of readily accessible information couched in understandable terms and is in my hands pretty well every day.' -- Eastern Daily Press (September 2007)

'[it] is the finest field guide of its kind.'
-- Country File, February 2008

'[this] single volume is the most comprehensive, updated guide to insects available.'
-- Kentish Times Newspaper

'a suberb, comprehensive guide with excellent colour illustrations, which make an often overlooked animal group instantly accessible.'
-- Guardian Unlimited (November 2007) Guardian Unlimited (November 2007)

About the Author

Michael Chinery is the UK's leading writer on insects.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
51 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insects of Britain & Western Europe 3 July 2007
Very possibily, the best book on layman insect identification, is now back in print. It is detailed enough to be useful to those people with more than just a passing interest. The full colour drawings I find are far far better than photos on glossy paper, easier on the eye, you will see what I mean when you purchase. The book is also a handy size

190mm X 120mm making it a useful for carting around when on a walk for example.

Highly recomended publication.
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
It's clear that a lot of painstaking effort has been taken in producing this wonderfully comprehensive and well balanced field guide. The illustrations are superbly clear and the narrative informative and sufficiently detailed to accurately identify different species, although I have struggled a bit with bumble bees, simply because there appears to be so much natural variation. This book really opens your eyes to a whole new world that you might otherwise have taken for granted. Its really quite amazing how much diversity there is on your doorstep, especially moths. I'd recommend carrying a camera with good macro/ telephoto capability though, simply because recalling details later on can be difficult, especially if you're a beginner.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Verified Purchase
"Insects of Britain and Western Europe" is an almost classical field guide, now in a revised 2007 edition. Of course, no field guide can cover *all* species of insects. In Europe alone, there are about 100,000 insect species known to science! Chinery has selected over a thousand representative species for his field guide, and these are all superbly illustrated (in full color) by Richard Lewington, Stephen Falk and others. After looking through bird books where the poor birdies looked like Donald Duck, this comes as a pleasant surprise! The text and the color plates are on facing pages, and the vernacular names are given on the plates, provided such exist. There is also a chapter on creatures frequently confused with insects, including spiders, scorpions and woodlice.

"Insects of Britain and Western Europe" is, I assume, mostly directed at beginners. If you have a strong special interest for a particular kind of insects, say butterflies or dragonflies, there are better field guides that concentrate on these. But if you simply want an overview of what's out there, and spend your time strolling around parks, meadows or forests, this is the field guide for you. Provided that your strolling takes place in Britain and Western Europe, of course!

You wont be able to identify every individual species you come across, but you will be able to place them in the correct order, and sometimes family, with the help of this book. You will also be able to identify the most conspicuous species. Thus, this is not a book for someone who absolutely wants to identify brown lacewings, ascalaphids or fruitflies. Rather, it's a book that aids the beginner to tell the difference between bugs and beetles, or dragonflies, damselflies and antlions, or various kinds of wasps. How do I know all this?
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and Inspiring! 22 Feb 2011
As part of my degree I need to learn to identify wildlife, whether that be birds (easy), trees (easy), wildflowers (mostly easy) or mammals (very easy!) or insects, which I found very hard. Most insects are so small, and so similar that it is really very hard to identify them, but with this book it has suddenly become much easier.

The book itself is beautiful. It is all drawings which are known to contain a higher level of detail, and with insects that is essential. It talks about how to identify insects, admitting that they are quite tricky, especially those of smaller sizes, and so it talks about collecting and studying them, and the ethics of killing some to identify them, listing the British Code for Insect Collecting, while reminding you that many butterfly and other insect species are fully protected.
It also includes a key, details of venation (which may sometimes be the only way to fully identify an insect), and the vast majority of species are illustrated. Any that aren't are so similar to others shown that it is unnecessary, sometimes just showing the different venation or mouth-parts as a comparison.
Each species has a short description, generally concerned with habitat and nymph stages, and also what months, and range they're found in. British species are instantly recognisable by having a triangle next to the description of the area in which they're found. Next to each of the diagrams there are size guides (ie. X2.5 means that the picture is 2 and a half times bigger than the actual insect), many are life size, including most of the moths and butterflies. Sexual differences are also described, if there are any.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant book at a good price 8 Aug 2010
Very detailed with lovely pictures and a thorough index at the front that helps you find which insect you are looking for. Have identified many bugs in my garden with it - all except one, which is turning out to be a bit of a mystery!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and handy book for identifying insects 30 Aug 2010
A cracking book for the price. Of course it does'nt cover all the British Insect species but for that you would have to be humping around a much larger and weigthier tome. I was very impressed with what it does contain being new to the game of Insect identification and pleasantly surprised that I could at last identify more species than I could'nt. I find the illustrations top notch and in some respects more favourable than a photograph. The book is very concise and contains enough information I believe for a novice entomologist or someone interested in knowing what species of insects are visiting their garden or elsewhere in the good old British countryside during the spring and summer months. Highly recommended.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly useful pocket guide
Have only just received this, so have not had a chance to use it for identification. However, having used many other books that have fallen short in their promise, this one looks... Read more
Published 5 months ago by G. Anstey
5.0 out of 5 stars Gift
Family member advised this book was worth buying so glad bought it very pleased with size and clarity of pictures
Published 5 months ago by Emma Webdale
3.0 out of 5 stars insect guide
Too detailed for what I wanted it for. Wanted to be able to identify a wide range of insects, but there are pages of insects eg. Read more
Published 7 months ago by kat
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Insect book
I purchased this edition as a replacement to a well worn old version that has seen me through many years in entomology. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Brian
4.0 out of 5 stars Great compact little book.
This would have been a 5 star rating if the reproductions of the illustrations were excellent. They are in fact, very good in a really good and informative book which makes... Read more
Published 11 months ago by R J Willett
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant book
Such a useful book. Sections split up into insect type with lots of colours and easy to view picture diagrams. I've learnt a lot from it anyway.
Published 11 months ago by nickmnickm
5.0 out of 5 stars Needed for any wildlife Enthusiast
A brilliant book. The illustrations are beautiful, detailed and accurate. I have learnt a lot from using this book, it has been very useful. Read more
Published 13 months ago by megan shepherd
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent pictures, excellent information.
A really detailed pocket/bag sized book with all sorts of little bits of information on the insects you need to identify. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Mrs. L Monck
5.0 out of 5 stars Insects easily identified
This book was suggested to me by someone who works with and identifies all manner of insects for a living, as a starter book. Read more
Published on 20 Sep 2011 by Peter
3.0 out of 5 stars Limited British content
I bought this book after reading the reviews. On reading it I found it was very good technicaly, but found that not all British species were included. Read more
Published on 18 July 2010 by Throstle
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